Next logical (most useful) purchase for a beginner?

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Forum topic by dpoisson posted 12-03-2010 10:51 PM 2038 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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190 posts in 2909 days

12-03-2010 10:51 PM

Howdy everyone! With Christmas around the corner, I’m thinking of perhaps asking for a tool or two and I have no idea what would be the most useful tool for me to get. Here’s the tools that I currently have:

- Drill + wolfcraft thingy to drill at angles (incl. 90 degrees) with a couple of drill bits (I do have a canadian tire forstner bit kit as well)
- Jigsaw
- dewalt radial arm saw (which was given to me, but which I don’t really like: trying to sell it but no luck so far)
- circular saw
- a good (fast) irwin saw (marathon), a fine saw (stanley)
- got a couple of chisels (mastercrafts)
- Got an old craftsman router (my grand-father’s) with a wolfcraft router table and a set of router bits from mastercraft

I was reading reviews about the Ryobi bandsaw. Might be nice…since right now, the only thing I have to make cuts is the radial saw, which I’m not too fond of.

I was also thinking that a press-drill would be nice, but I could get by with the drill and wolfcraft thingy.

I could also save money (and by saving, I mean spending it on other things non-woodworking related ;-) and buy more tools after I take my beginner’s woodworking class in late January.

Anyways, would love to hear your opinions on this!




38 replies so far

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3035 days

#1 posted 12-03-2010 10:56 PM

Good Begining, Have you thought of a decent planer? it will open up a whole new universe of wood, from Pallets to Crates, to just rough cut lumber.

To many choices to chose from !!! Oh Man Brain F r e e z i n g !!!!!!!!

Good Luck in your Class !!!!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2875 days

#2 posted 12-03-2010 11:02 PM

Table Saw seems like a good choice but may be an expensive gift.

I would probably ask for smaller items like clamps and other smaller shop supplies..

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View dpoisson's profile


190 posts in 2909 days

#3 posted 12-03-2010 11:04 PM

To be honest, a planar isn’t even in the distant futur for me…

I have a lot to learn and practice before hand!

I have a couple of projects I’d like to tackle (a nice toolbox/tote or a trestle table with keyed mortises) and I seem to be limited by the fact that I have nothing to cut/drill straight.



View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3069 days

#4 posted 12-03-2010 11:16 PM

The right response to an inquiry like this is always, “It depends on what you want to do”. However, you have partially answered that by mentioning a couple of projects you would like to tackle.

It sounds like you to not have the budget to build a complete shop of tools quickly.

I think you should consider some good quality hand saws. You should have both a good crosscut saw (a.k.a. – a tenon saw) and a good rip saw (a.k.a. – a dovetail saw). You can do a lot of good stuff with these saws. You also need some good chisels that you can make very sharp.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View dpoisson's profile


190 posts in 2909 days

#5 posted 12-03-2010 11:17 PM

@Dan, yup, I’ve seen a lot of people’s projects done with a table saw. Could be a good idea. Ditto on the clamps, they have a sale going on right now at a local store: Buy a pair of 12” irwin clamps and receive a pair of 6” free (I guess they can’t get rid of the 6 inchers hehe)


View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3035 days

#6 posted 12-03-2010 11:23 PM


I Bought 2 sets of the Irwin Clamps at Lowe’s , But they were buy (2) 6” & get (2) 6” Free for 20.00Each set

Another Idea is A decent set of Sockets / Wrenches / Screwdrivers

Don’t Worry it took me 15 years to accumulate what I have as far as tools go, & I find more I want every Day.

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Kevin's profile


462 posts in 3200 days

#7 posted 12-03-2010 11:42 PM

I’d opt for a small 10” miter saw and a descent cordless drill for big purchases. Maybe a couple of hand saws like another one suggested, some screwdriver bits and a set of brad point drill bits perhaps.

The table saw is great, but I would wait and get a descent one in the future.
Band saw you can replace with the jig saw for now.
Circular saw and a good straight edge can replace the table saw for now.
Clamps, you cannot have too many clamps !!!!!

Like RichGeer stated, it all depends on what you will be doing. The bigger tools cost money so just start building your collection with small tools then work your way up.

Good luck,


-- Williamsburg, KY

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2822 days

#8 posted 12-03-2010 11:44 PM

Table saw(my xmas gift.. lol)(makes almost every straight cut in the book)
Bandsaw(I had one of these.. loved it.. till it died..)
Mitre Saw(I like Ridgid, the warranty is why.. :) )
Sander(even a Random Orbit is good for shaping stock, and makes short work of cleaning up rough wood)

I would hold off on the Drill press… its kind of a comodity, as opposed to the others…

Also, RAS arent actually that bad… I have used one.. they cut decently… although they take alot of tuneup… just be mindful of the 6” Margin of Safety, cut nothing less than 10”.
.. Although I do say, they are kinda scary at first… mostly because of the noise…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 3502 days

#9 posted 12-03-2010 11:47 PM

If I were you, I would wait until after you take your woodworking class to buy anything, as hard as that might be to do. I think we all love buying tools or we wouldn’t be here. Your class (and your teacher) will probably open your eyes to things you had no idea about before. Someone said earlier that what tools you should buy depends on what you want to make with them. That is very true. And I find that getting tools as you need them is a good logic to follow. I would stay away from any sort of automatic decisions—like everyone needs a this or that. If you are making furniture that demands flat surfaces parallel and perpendicular to each other, learn as much as you can about the basics of milling wood. It will serve you for a lifetime. If you want to pursue that, then you might buy a jointer and planer and table saw. If you are making things with dimensioned lumber, you might not need a jointer or planer. If you want to learn how to flatten and square lumber by hand, then planes might be a good place to start. All this stuff is expensive. Whatever you get, buy the best quality that you can afford and learn how to take care of it. I would have avoided wasting a lot of time and money if I followed those steps when I was a beginning. Enjoy.

-- Mitch, Also blog at

View trucker12349's profile


92 posts in 3480 days

#10 posted 12-03-2010 11:53 PM

i got a 9” ryobi bench top bandsaw last year for xmass. I love it.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3110 days

#11 posted 12-03-2010 11:56 PM

well from your head line may I surgest you get some to by you som Dipers…..LOL
just cuoldn´t resist to tease

Richgreer has a very good point a few good saws and a few deasen planes a copple of sharp theisels
include a set of layout tools and a sturdy bench
and you can make nearly everthing


View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3560 days

#12 posted 12-04-2010 12:08 AM

I agree with Mitch-Furnitude, you will probably learn what tools you need when taking the class (good start by the way) and you may get a lead on some decent tools from the instructor or your classmates. Do you need something to sharpen your chisels? that might be a good, fairly inexpensive purchase to get now.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3093 days

#13 posted 12-04-2010 12:21 AM

A bench top drill press is a must. I have a 10” Ryobi and it’s all I ever needed. Can’t live without it. I think you can pick them up for around $100.00

View RiverWood's profile


115 posts in 2755 days

#14 posted 12-04-2010 02:35 AM

I would say a random orbit sander if you want a power tool. You have a drill and a make do press. ( an extra bit or two could be a good thing) You have a jigsaw so curves cuts you have covered. ( good scroll blades are an excellent investment) I would not even worry about using the radial saw if you are not comfortable with it. A good sharp blade on your circular saw and a nice straight edge to run it against will work wonders. I use hand saws at least as often as powered ones, maybe more. As for chisels I think they as least as important as pencils in the shop and they must be kept very sharp ( which brings to mind needing a way to sharpen them)( which reminds me how much I like my old pencil sharpener to chamfer dowels) oops, sorry back to your post. I have 3 or 4 old (10 years or more) craftsman routers routers that I have set up for different tasks they all work just fine. So I vote for a good sander since you have ways to saw straight, saw curves, and drill holes.

You can never have to many clamps :)

-- My favorite projects were firewood bound

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3718 days

#15 posted 12-04-2010 05:16 AM

If money is an object, band saw. If money isn’t an object, I’d start with a table saw. Either way, if you go with the band saw you can also get some extra tools with it and spend the same amount as a good table saw.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

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